Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. This usually consists of placing a fine ultrasonic tip in between the tooth and gum tissue to remove any plaque and calculus below the gum line. This procedure is called root planing. Four to six weeks later, periodontal pockets are eliminated due to gum shrinkage. Then the patient can personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing.
Even in most severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy most often precedes surgical therapy. This is done so that the overall tissue quality is improved prior to surgery and also limits the areas of required surgery.